FCA makes it easier for people to compare bank accounts

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published final rules which will require providers of personal current accounts and business current accounts to publish information that will help customers to compare the service they could receive from different providers.

The new information will help customers, comparison websites and the media to make meaningful comparisons of the services different current account providers offer. By encouraging competition it is expected that the new rules will mean providers will improve their service and performance.

Under the new rules, customers will be able to find:

  • how and when services and helplines are available
  • contact details for help, including for 24 hour helplines
  • how long it will take to open a current account
  • how long it will take to have a debit card replaced
  • how often the firm has had to report major operational and security incidents
  • the level of complaints made against the firm

The Consultation Paper also looked at introducing rules requiring publication of service metrics related to how long it takes to arrange to use powers of attorney. Following the feedback received, the FCA welcomes the industry’s agreement to coordinate the development of a voluntary industry agreement on vulnerability.

Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition, said:

“We want to see current account providers competing hard for their customers’ business by offering better service, alongside competition on interest and charges. These rules will help people see how their bank compares to others so they can choose an account that suits their needs.

“We are pleased that the industry is seeking to develop information about their treatment of vulnerable customers. It is important that these customers are given help and support when making a decision about a bank account and this is an important step forward.”

Eric Leenders, Managing Director of Personal Finance at UK Finance said:

“Like the FCA, we want to see effective competition so these steps are a welcome development. Making it easier for consumers and businesses to compare the quality of service offered by different current account providers is a great way to encourage customers to shop around.”

James O’Sullivan, BSA Policy Adviser said:

“We recognise that vulnerability arises for many reasons, with circumstances that can be specific to a single individual. We look forward to working with the FCA and UK Finance to co-ordinate the development of a voluntary industry agreement to provide relevant and helpful information to customers who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances.”

Notes to editors

  1. Policy statement
  2. Consultation paper
  3. Current account providers must publish the information on when and how services and helplines are available and numbers of operational and security incidents from 15 August 2018. They must publish the remaining information from February 2019. This includes account opening metrics and time taken to replace a debit card metrics.
  4. The service information we will require firms to publish is designed to complement a requirement by the CMA for the largest banks to publish customer survey results comparing levels of customer satisfaction. That information will be published from 15 August 2018.
  5. The service information we will require firms to publish is a set of objective and standardised data, and our rules will apply to a wider range of firms than those which publish the CMA survey results. Our service information is designed to complement the CMA information, for those firms that publish it.
  6. Information about vulnerable customers from Financial Lives and Approach to Consumers
  7. This work is one part of our wider programme to promote effective competition in retail banking, following the CMA’s market investigation.
  8. On 1 April 2013, the FCA became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  9. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  10. Find out more information about the FCA.